TODAY   |  March 12, 2014

Theo James went beyond ‘human limit’ for ‘Divergent’

“Divergent” stars Theo James and Shailene Woodley join TODAY to chat about the intense training, including boxing, they underwent for the new, blockbuster-to-be action film.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we are back at 8:21. the "divergent" trilogy became a runaway best seller and now the first movie is heading to the big screen and just like in the books there is no shortage of excitement and bold ac its of bravery. take a look.

>> points for bravery stick. you all right?

>> you cut me.

>> i meant to.

>> and the stars of "divergent" are shailene woodley and theo james. good morning to both of you.

>> good morning.

>> i watched this last night. i just want to say right here at the beginning, please don't hurt me. so tough in this movie. was that fun to do those stunts and, i don't know, get out your inner fighter?

>> yeah.

>> absolutely.

>> that is kind of the fun stuff in a way. yeah. you kind of get involved in it. and if you don't kind of finish a day of stunts with lots of bruises, you feel like you haven't done it right, you know what i mean ?

>> did you start out the kind of person who was tough enough to do these kinds of, i guess, physical feats in the movie or did you have to train up for the role?

>> we did some training. i mean, both of us, were i think, pretty fit when we started and very -- i mean, did some boxing before and i had done a little -- some other martial art , but we do did do a lot of training and learn the correct fight style.

>> yeah, we had about a month and, yeah, we kind of pushed ourselves beyond the human limit kind of.

>> so the first of three movies, i was thinking about that, when you sign on to do three movies, i mean, it's like you got to look at the character and think, boy, there's some long-term potential for us character. almost like a long-term commitment. you must have felt there's somewhere to go with these characters?

>> yeah. absolutely. i mean, the nice thing is because it's based on a book, you sort of see the trajectory of their storyline already. but the third book wasn't written when we signed on so we didn't really know --

>> anything could have happened. we could become clowns or something.

>> or dolphins.

>> dolphins. yeah. yeah.

>> that's in part four.

>> yeah. haven't signed on for that one.

>> die verge with dolphins. you have to be ready though, because you are right. you have to loft character, 'cause if you don't love it then potentially, you're -- a big part of your life. but i think there's a lot to be drawn on these characters, a lot of meat on the bone.

>> it's great to be playing roles that so many people know and love. and i imagine it's also kind of scary because people that read the books, they think they know what this character is and then you have to step into it and put a face to it. was that intimidating to take on?

>> not r because i feel like if we tried to portray a character that everybody else wanted it would have been this mess of a human, you know? and it's already -- when you're creating a movie, you are in the bubble of what that film is and you kind of forget that other people know about it, in a sense.

>> are you guys ready for your lives to change? because this is going to be huge. i mean, i think the box office that they ex-they think will exceed "twilight" which means maybe your lives are going to change?

>> yeah. it's kind of hard to quantify that and also until it's there, you know, we kind of realists in a way, until --

>> like there like on all these magazines?

>> oh, my god.

>> have you seep these? okay. they are all here. there we go. there you are.

>> hunky gent there i like biting your finger. goddamn.

>> they photoshopped that that's all photoshopped.

>> that's my finger.

>> well, guys, congratulations on the movie, it's really fun and we will be seeing lots more of you, we know.